I will often make jokes to avoid discomfort. It’s a defense mechanism and it is not for everybody. Therefore, I try to give certain jokes the benefit of the doubt. If someone doesn’t like a joke I can understand that as well. Comedy is, after all, subjective and sometimes downright mean. This is why I’m having a hard time with Jimmy Kimmel’s latest bit on his late-night show.
Kimmel returned this week after a brief hiatus to spend time with his family. While he’s not my favorite late-night host, I find myself seeking out his segments after I heard him on a podcast speaking about his career and comedy tastes or waxing poetic about his love of Huey Lewis and the News. A love we both share. Despite a lack of audience, Kimmel has returned with the poise and dry wit that can make him so engrossing.
Kimmel is also a bit of a prankster. This is where I start to lose interest. I’ve never been a big fan of pranks. The idea of a joke being played on someone who is not in on it is not my idea of funny. However, I get why people do like them.
Do you sense my frustration yet?! My conflicting feelings?! They stem from a prank Kimmel played on his second night back, involving COVID protocols. Safety measures have been put in place to allow shows and movies to resume production. Jimmy decided, as a prank, to have one of the people administering check-ins be particularly invasive and at times inappropriate.
Let me be clear about one thing: nothing the person said was incredibly offensive or lewd or egregious. At most, it was a little obnoxious. Asking people if they’ve had diarrhea, getting them to show how they sneeze or convincing Guillermo to lift up his shirt to check his temperature is nothing anyone needs to write the FCC about. It was the idea itself that has gotten to me.
I live in NYC and am lucky enough to not know anyone personally who has died due to coronavirus complications. There are several close friends of mine who have had it but all have recovered. But y’all, things were rough here. Luckily they’ve gotten better (sorry, FOX News) and yet I still found the idea of making light of COVID precautions to be a little off-putting. In fact, several months ago I turned down a chance to appear on a TV show (no big deal) because I did not feel that proper precautions would be in place.
A lot of these feelings arose before I even watched the segment. After I did, I didn’t feel as gobsmacked by the idea. The jokes were playful and silly. Is it for me? No. Is that OK? Yes. Like it or not, we will be talking about (and likely joking about) COVID-19 for quite some time. At the end of the day, I’m not the only one with a laughter-based defense mechanism.
Header Image Source: ABC